I have a besetting sin: in my mind, I undress almost every church building I enter. Then I remake it. If this wall was removed, I think, and a row of windows cut into that wall, and the room expanded in this direction, and different flooring installed, this whole building would be … and here are my watchwords: more useful, and more beautiful.
It's a vice I acquired in childhood. My mother constantly changed the appearance of rooms: moved furniture like it was a dollhouse, changed sofa covers like they were bed sheets, shuffled and reshuffled paintings and ornaments kaleidoscopically. I'd leave for school in the morning and the living room suited a Manhattan penthouse; I'd return in the afternoon and it resembled a San Francisco flop house.
This drove my father crazy and secretly thrilled me.
The vice has been extravagantly indulged over the past 14 years with my church. Five years before I got here, the church acquired a farm house on four acres, with chickens bobbing about, apple ...1